- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

WHUR was the most popular radio station among adult listeners in the spring, drawing its biggest audience since losing morning man Tom Joyner two years ago, according to Arbitron ratings released yesterday.
The urban music station captured 6.1 percent of listeners from 25 to 54 an average 309,900 in the spring. In spring 2001, WHUR (96.3 FM) was the fifth most popular station among adult listeners.
Among all listeners, WHUR was ranked fifth among Washington's 31 major stations, up from spring 2001, when it tied oldies music station WBIG (100.3 FM) for ninth place.
"We are rebuilding. When we lost Joyner, people said it would kill this radio station," said Millard J. Watkins III, general manager.
WHUR, which Howard University owns, struggled after Mr. Joyner's syndicated show moved to rival WMMJ (102.3 FM) in August 2000. It has bounced back in most time periods, but it still trails its competitors in the mornings.
The radio industry watches ratings closely because the numbers are tied to advertising, the main revenue source for broadcasters. Stations that generate higher ratings charge advertisers more money for airtime.
Adults between 25 and 54 are a prized demographic for many advertisers because they believe this group has more buying power than younger listeners.
WHUR and the region's other urban music stations dominated the spring ratings among all listeners. Four of the top five stations among this group play urban music.
News station WTOP (1500 and 820 AM, 107.7 FM), which was ranked second, rounded out the top five among all listeners.
WTOP was the most popular station among adults in the morning, a lucrative time period because it draws the most listeners.
ABC-owned news and talk station WMAL (630 AM) slipped to 18th place among adults.
The spring ratings period began March 28, a few weeks after WMAL disrupted its schedule by firing evening host Victoria Jones and moving afternoon man Chris Core to mornings and then evenings.
The station tweaked its schedule again this month, introducing a new morning lineup. It hopes the numbers will rise when listeners get used to the new lineup, said John Butler, operations manager.
"We're making changes. That sometimes causes a little confusion for listeners," Mr. Butler said.


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